Google Groups Pain in the Neck

[fr] Google Groups trouve qu'il n'est pas raisonnable de vouloir ajouter plus d'une dizaine de personnes à la fois à une newsletter nouvellement créée.

I’ve used Google Groups to set up a newsletter for Going Solo.

Here it is, with added proof (if needed) of my hopeless lack of design sense.

When I set up the group, I did what most normal newsletter creators would do: went through my contacts to invite those who might be interested in joining. I selected 30 or so people to start with.

My action triggered a flag for review, as I might be a potential spammer:

Your request to invite X new members has been flagged for review by our staff.

In order to protect our members from unsolicited email, Google manually reviews invite requests which meet various criteria. Your request will not be reviewed unless you provide us with more information in the form below. Reviews generally take 1 – 2 business days.

Please provide an explanation for where these new members come from and why they would want to be part of your group. Note that Google takes a very dim view of Spam. The people you invite must know you and be expecting your message. If they complain, you will be banned from our service and your group will be deleted.

Great.

Well, I wrote up an explanation, saying I was setting up this newsletter so that people could stay informed about Going Solo (registration is closing soon btw), and that I was going through my address book to let people know about it.

Anything wrong with that, in your opinion? I think not, and Google obviously didn’t think there was anything wrong either, because they let my invitations go through after a few hours.

BUT.

Now, each time I invite even one single person, my request is flagged.

Google Groups: Threatening!

What a pain! I’m going to be inviting people many times a day over the next week, as I dig out e-mail addresses. And obviously, just announcing the existence of the newsletter is not enough to get people to sign up — ever heard of lower the barrier to entry? If I’m creating this newsletter, it’s because I’m finally coming to my senses (!) and realising that not everybody follows Twitter, subscribes to blogs, hangs out on Facebook or upcoming, and that good ol’ e-mail still has some good days before it when it comes to getting information out to people.

I am really annoyed at Google Groups for making this so difficult. Shouldn’t there be a way for me to get the limit “lifted” for my group, by offering proof I’m not a nasty spammer, but a businesswoman (OMG!) who is very much aware that she will very quickly use up her social capital if she spams her network with irrelevant stuff? And therefore, that I actually need to send out invites to a few hundred people?

Also, look at this form:

Google Groups invite members

Don’t you think that “e-mail addresses” field invites a reasonably large number of addresses?

I went through the help, and it wasn’t very encouraging, but I did learn a few useful things:

So, please. If you have friends working on Google Groups, please draw their attention to this post and issue. It’s a bloody pain in the neck.

Oh yeah — and please sign up for the newsletter. I’m going to have trouble inviting you ;-)going-solo-news-subscribe@googlegroups.com also works.

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This entry was posted in Technology and tagged customer, customer experience, filter, fixthis, flag, going solo, going solo newsletter, google, google groups, group, groups, mailing-list, mass e-mailing, newsletter, pain in the neck, problem, review, Reviews, spam, Technology, trigger, unhappy, unreasonable, Venting. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Google Groups Pain in the Neck

  1. David says:

    There are, indeed, a few kinks in the user-experience/usability of Googly things, Steph! In June, we have a small group of students going to Google London to demo how they are using Google’s products (products that are becoming more and more important to students and teachers as the weeks go by). We’ll be aiming, also, to make some constructive criticisms/suggestions for improving the interfaces and experience of using the various tools. I’ll be sure to see that we raise the issues you’ve pulled together here. Thanks — this is a very good post to be able to refer to.

  2. Dallas Knight says:

    These technologies are moving full steam ahead, althought not fast enough for you it sees. Great that they are free to users, istn’t it? Good luck with your quest.

  3. Marie-Aude says:

    The only thing I don’t understand is why you are using Google groups for that instead of making a real standard newsletter ?

  4. Stephanie says:

    Dallas: your sarcasm is not welcome here.

    Marie-Aude: because it’s easier to set up? (!)

  5. Fellow Googler says:

    Just wanted to say I feel your pain! When I tried to add my OWN PERSONAL MANY email addresses to my OWN “testing” google-group I created (to see how it works/testing it out), it was flagged, and I gave the explanation, but within less than 5 minutes, all the emails were added.

    I’m trying to decide whether to fully switch to Google Groups from Yahoogroups, and am having a hard time finding “customer reviews” re: Google Groups. But your page did show up.

    Thanks for the sentiments!

  6. CG says:

    Agree – this is a pain. I had managed Yahoo Groups for years and they state quite clearly how many can be joined at once. Nothing in the Google Material tells you how many until OOPs I overstepped the mark. I tried 57 and got the message above. Fingers crossed for what happens in 1-2 days. I was using a list of people who wanted to communicate on a public issue from a public meeting and had written down their emails asking for correspondence. Luckily my long letter with the invite explained exactly how we got the emails and that they had asked to be contacted and the issues were explained again and how to set up emails or web access. So hopefully Google Staff will review it favourably.. I even ended with Thank you for considering this invitation” and said how I could be contacted off list. BUT what a fluke I had written all that and taken a copy of it (ready for the next people I invite!!) – However I got an error message when I wrote in the response box to Google Staff so unsure now what the status is of the invitees. If in 2 days NOTHING has happened.. I will start again with 10 per day? and hope I don’t get your one at a time message.. THANKS FOR POSTING THIS INFO.. its nice to know others have the same problem.

    Maybe in Haste I look at Yahoo Groups. Or maybe I use our business domain address which doesn’t have limits to email everyone and get them to ask to join – after setting up ask to join (how many strangers will I get then???)

  7. I just ran into the exact same problem. We have a list of about 200 people that are contacted on a regular basis for an organization I am a part of.

    Usually, somebody sends an email from their personal address giving meeting agendas and so forth.

    We thought this would be an excellent use of the Google Groups. Once we added the list, our account was flagged. If we had known that this would be an issue, I think I would have skipped the Google group all together and gone for a better solution.

    I cannot believe that Google is blowing this chance for larger organizations to convert their mailing lists to Google Group format.

    Anyway, I hope my organization is approved soon. And, I hope your Google issues were resolved eventually as well.

  8. Pingback: Falling in Love With MailChimp — Climb to the Stars

  9. leaving Yahoo, Google not helping says:

    I am dismayed to see this problem goes back years. Now, two years after the original comment, just when lots of Yahoogroup owners want to move to Google Groups, we run into this limit on adding members. My Yahoogroup has over 3000 members! At 10 a day, it would be a year before the group is up and running. I wish Google had some way of communicating with someone human, or even of getting a canned auto reply. I don’t know if anyone has replied to my numerous feedback messages requesting help with adding thousands of members.

  10. I was able to add 99, but I can’t seem to add any more. I have 1800 to add.

  11. betabug says:

    I am getting “invites” to google groups set up by spammers every few days now. I imagine that all their measures do is annoy honest group administrators and do nothing to keep away spammers. I do not believe for a second that they are actually looking at whatever justification you give for your group invite. All it probably does is trigger a delay… and the spam goes on.

    BTW: http://going-solo.net/ is full of database errors, it’s in need of some maintenance.

  12. Yeah, they probably only serve to limit you to ten invites at a time. if you find how to automate that… (and yes, I know for Going Solo, it didn’t like the server move)

  13. Prema Naik says:

    When you could invite 500 numbers (though it was only invitation, not addition) in one go by turning 2 pages, now you are turning 100 pages of Google to do the same job. That’s what Google really wants… Another example is it’s canceling invitation process. Where you can cancel only 20 numbers at a time…

  14. Toby Thaler says:

    February 2014, same problem. Ridiculous limit of 10 addresses per invite, and: • problems getting invites to go through, esp gmail addresses • https://support.google.com/groups/?hl=en#topic=2458761 (the only google groups help site I can find), there is NO help for inviting people, and what to do if they are blocked.

    I have a correspondent who I cannot send to, google claims “opted out” and he doesn’t know what the heck google is talking about. And I can not find any help for this problem anywhere.

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